Trevor Phillips' Ugly Hypocrisy on Free Speech
Trevor Phillips, Marxist former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC, a left-wing quango set up by Blair's Labour government), has been grandstanding about free speech in universities.
Phillips complains that the 'No Platform' policy of the National Union of Students (NUS) is being used to silence politically incorrect speakers:
People use what was originally a protective proposition to damn others with whom they disagree.
Mr Phillips, you see, was the original architect of No Platform. As a seventies student radical, he'd designed the policy to 'protect' students from hurtful 'far-right' opinions by stopping the National Front and other groups speaking or debating on campus.
No Platform efficiently censored a swathe of political opinion from academia, and fortified the intellectual bubble that still isolates students from populist or conservative ideas. The policy proscribes the British National Party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First, allowing anti-British, pro-immigration, pro-Islam doctrine to propagate unchallenged on campus.
Though Phillips created No Platform specifically to silence those with whom he disagreed, he's furious that the anti-free speech mob he unleashed is now turning it against those with whom they disagree - including his own left-wing cronies, feminist Germaine Greer and lesbian activist Linda Bellos. 'No platforming', he bleats, is being used in an 'ugly' and 'authoritarian' way.
His position is utterly hypocritical, of course, but it's a textbook example of leftist paternalism, of middle class Marxists deciding which ideas the plebs (and the children of plebs) may and may not be exposed to. Because, of course, we plebs are too simple-minded to be allowed to hear and evaluate challenging ideas for ourselves.
Last week, the government published guidance for universities on free speech, which says that speakers shouldn't be banned just because they 'offend, shock or disturb' students. In light of this, Britain First looks forward to receiving speaking invitations from universities across the UK. (But don't hold your breath!)
Trevor Philips is currently chairman of Index on Censorship, an organisation that claims to 'promote free expression worldwide'.
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